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[TR] Mt Index - Direct East Face to Index Traverse 7/7/2017

Ryan Hoover

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Trip: Mt Index - Direct East Face to Index Traverse


Date: 7/7/2017


Trip Report:

Michal Rynkiewicz hit me up Friday with the hopes of going for the North Face of Mt Index into the Index Traverse Saturday. A route I have always looked up at, but brushed off over the years. I felt slightly anxious to get on a big loose alpine line since the last two years have been basically void of the mountains, but I'm a sucker for a challenge.



The Route starts somewhere near the orange rock at the top of the snow field. Once I find a good high res shot of the East Face and some time, I will post a topo.


I woke up way to early Saturday morning to try and scrape together my alpine kit before Mike showed up at my place around 5. We ended up leaving later then we hoped for and arrived at the Lake Serene trailhead around 7. I took some photos of the Becky Bible (somehow missing the descent page) and we took off. Somewhere from the car to Lake Serene we decided to go for the East Face, an old Becky route that has seen seldom ascents at best.


We cruised up to the lake and were well on our way to start the route, where we saw a decent trickle we were hoping to fill up at. Unfortunately it was protected by a 40 ft moat. OK with me, Mike headed down to the lake and filled up 5 liters for the route.


We crossed the little snow that was left and started scrambling on some orange choss. The original East Face is supposed to start with the North Face and follow ledges higher. We traversed left on the first Bench to see what could be had.


The first simul-block was mine. After a couple dead end starts and sketchy down climbs, we our way to the left side of the ledge system just past a big white overhang looming above. I followed a tree'd up corner groove for a bit, to some steep exposed face climbing and finally to the base of a beautiful corner that finally yielded some gear worth inspiration. I climbed the corner and belayed on top.


The next block was Mikes. The corner continued up, but was looking harder then reasonable for a gear-less simul in approach shoes. Mike peaked around the backside buttress of the corner and started climbing a steep tree. This lead to a tarzan swing into an overhung fist crack/tree climb that proved to be quite fun. He continued up until joining the canyon. A large obvious weakness that splits the East Face about halfway up.



Typical Climbing on the East Face


The rock at this point started to deteriorate to what would be the theme for the rest of the climb. Spot on descriptions from the Becky guide and 2 more simul-blocks brought us to the top of the East Face via continuous steep, loose, vegetated climbing. My knuckle was already starting to get sore from tapping holds.


We threw some snow in our water bottles and snacked at a thank god patch of snow right at the top out and started the traverse.


The traverse was exposed, loose and exciting. Every col looked impassible until you found the way. We were lucky to nail every turn (Becky Bible is too spot on) and made it to the Middle/Main Notch 11 hrs after leaving the car and were so excited to find the magical bivy mentioned in Wayne Wallace's report. The problem was, it was actually before the Main summit, and the Middle/Main notch was a steaming pile of poo. We traversed back to some low angled slabs near a sacred trickle and ate as much as we could.









The faces you make after a day of choss doggin'.


The next morning we made quick work getting up main peak and were on the summit in a couple hrs. In total, we did the route in 6 simul blocks to the Main/Middle Notch, and 2 more to the summit. We guessed our way down the hourglass gully and once again luckily stumbled upon the rappel station about half way down. We made it to the lake in quick time and passed the smells of civilization (I don't understand how someone can smell so strong of Laundry/Perfume after hiking), making it back to the car around 4:30.


A trip to Rico's marked the end of another great trip!


Although I wouldn't recommend this route to everyone, I do recommend it to the types of folks who like to get wild! A great cascades experience!


Gear Notes:

Single Rack to 2", a 8mm 70 meter rope and a brain bucket. We left the climbing shoes, crampons and ice axe at home.


Approach Notes:

Becky Bible

Edited by Ryan Hoover
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